Govt, media body resolve to enact legislation for curbing fake news

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and the media’s Joint Action Committee (JAC) on Saturday decided to enact legislation for curbing fake news.

The meeting between the newly appointed information minister and the JAC agreed to add a provision in the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) law to tackle fake news, which they said had not only harmed the national interest but also had an adverse impact on national cohesion and unity.

Aurangzeb assured the JAC members that the present government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, would not compromise in any way on the right to freedom of expression.

“PM Shehbaz Sharif is striving to promote the constitutional and fundamental right of freedom of expression,” she added.

Lashing out at the previous Imran Khan-led regime for media restrictions, she said only democratic leaders valued and believed in the right of freedom of expression. “Free and independent media provides a shield to the politicians and we will strengthen it further,” she added.

She regretted that the last four years proved to be devastating for the people, politics and journalism. “Attempts were made to deprive people of their independence by muzzling the media through the closure of television channels and programmes,” Aurangzeb added.

The information minister alleged the media industry was destroyed by the previous government, which she said also created the worst economic issues for the country.

She said the incumbent government was fully cognisant of the problems faced by the journalist community and intended to reverse “the damage caused by the previous government” to the media industry and economy.

Aurangzeb accused the PTI government of hatching a conspiracy against the country by bringing the national economy to the verge of bankruptcy.

She also strongly condemned the serious allegations hurled against some journalists by the PTI under the pretext of a “foreign conspiracy”.

The minister also supported the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists’ demand and assured all-out efforts to curb the malicious campaigns against the institutions and media.

The JAC delegation congratulated Aurangzeb on assuming the charge of the information minister and appreciated her initiative to repeal the black media laws of the previous government, including the recent disbanding of the Pakistan Media Development Authority.

The JAC hoped that the present government would continue to promote democratic values and norms in the country.

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